*As with the previous entry of this blog, this will be a "story jam" open to any and all participants. I'll post a story title and an opening paragraph. Anyone is welcome to post the next suggested paragraph as a comment.

I'll take the new paragraphs/comments as they come in and add them to the body of the blog entry itself. First paragraph posted will be the next added to the story text.

After a few days, any time I add new text to the story, this will likely require posting as a "new" blog entry (the Reader network automatically - and frustratingly - launches under a new clean url whenever you revise a blog entry after several days have passed). This will clear the previous comment threads. However, I'll keep track of who donated each paragraph, in case someone wants to reference later.

All participants, including me, agree that we're giving this material away to all who'd like to read and/or participate. No copyrights or intellectual property rights will apply to whatever we jointly produce.

Your paragraph donation can be as short as you like, but let's keep length under 200 words per paragraph.

Please do not post a followup paragraph until someone else has donated one.

Let's say the theme of this story is to revolve around some kind of tragedy, either past or pending ---- third person or omniscient POV, no first-person narrative other than character quotes.

Let's write!*


Everybody who knew Stanley Hill was aware of how much he despised his older brother Mitch. Nary an opportunity was ever missed to decry Mitch's drudge-like job at the post office, his drab "old man" clothes, his far-too-docile wife, and - most of all - their sub-literate twin sons, both of them more likely to be seen on any given afternoon hanging out at the videogame shop talking Warcraft, rather than carrying textbooks to or from the Oklahoma City grade school supposedly housing the little do-nothings from 9 to 3 each day. Just thinking about anything to do with his brother tended to make Stanley all too glad that he himself was both unmarried and childless.

More like this:


nan shartel Aug. 30, 2010 @ 10:54 p.m.

Stanley wasn't much of a thinker. At least that's what his co-workers thought. Most would have said he was jaded by many years of mediocre work and personal inactivity. And except for the family, Stanley was far more like Mitch then he would have admitted.He hated his Post Office job as much as he despised his brother and that took some doing.His social contacts numbered in the few.His hobbies came and went.He couldn't find any that suited him long enough to engage him fully ,until he bought the telescope


Jay Allen Sanford Aug. 31, 2010 @ 7:42 a.m.

It came as no small surprise to those in Stanley's intimate circle (if "intimate" can be said to encompass only acquaintances and co-workers) when he began to rhapsodize about his newfound passion for astronomy. This was, after all, a guy who once described a trip to the local planetarium (no doubt attended alone) as "pinpoints for pinpricks."


FictionWriter Aug. 31, 2010 @ 8:49 a.m.

"There's more life happening within one square inch of viewable outer space than on the entire planet Earth," he blurted out one day during a conversation with two fellow mail sorters. This, even though said conversation had previously been about the differences between stewardesses and flight attendants, and despite the fact that Stanley's only previous contribution to the chat had been "Snakes On a Plane is my favorite movie," a comment met by his coworkers with little more than external indifference and internal disdain.


nan shartel Aug. 31, 2010 @ 8:59 a.m.

"Oh yeah Astronomy" his co-workers thought. He's scoping out some heavenly bodies alright.Some could even fantasize the irregular stains forming in the crotch of Stanley's pants.When they met in the morning walking into the Post Office their smiles had changed from welcoming to wry as they asked,"So what were you watching last night Stanley" In his excitement to tell about the "Perseus Meteor Showers he didn't notice the leer behind the smiles


MsGrant Aug. 31, 2010 @ 9:03 a.m.

At his co-workers lack of interest in him and his new-found passion, Stanley turned crimson. They could never understand. He was smarter than they were, yet he still on some level wished to belong, to be able to casually discuss women as if he knew something about them. Like the stars he now gazed upon with enhanced clarity, he knew they, like women and his co-workers respect, would remain out of his grasp. Unless something happened to change that.


nan shartel Aug. 31, 2010 @ 9:36 a.m.

Women,that cultural divide was like the Grand Canyon. Stanley didn't even entertain the idea he could use his telescope a different way. It was strange to think this clumsy social oaf had grown a heart with the UPS delivery of the looking glass. That could become a huge dilemma in his closed didactic environment.His natural skepticism about the importance of women had become long ingrained with walls unscalable. His physical needs had be carefully stuffed and barely simmered in the recesses of his mind


Evelyn Aug. 31, 2010 @ 9:49 a.m.

Barely simmered, for once in a blue moon, his desires boiled over. And when they did, Stanley spent his weekend indulging, and eventually purging himself of, as he considered it, the ultimate vice. Except, now, with the telescope, when the time had passed, and Stanley felt himself grow anxious with his need to indulge; he didn't. Stanley spent his indulgance on his telescope, instead of eating chocolate, as he had been doing for decades.


nan shartel Aug. 31, 2010 @ 10:02 a.m.

The last blue moon had been in March.Only the giant magnificent display of the Milky Way in August and September kept other thoughts from surfacing.He had a drawer full of Godiva Chocolates stored up so he was all set to be spatially dazzled and have his physical needs placated for another month


MsGrant Aug. 31, 2010 @ 10:36 a.m.

One the eve of the upcoming blue moon, Stanley had a thought. "What if I don't indulge this time? What if I changed the ritual I have been participating in for these last decades?" Stanley was, if anything, a creature of habit. Straying from his daily rituals caused him great distress. Everyday he partook in the same routine. He would rise, eat a bowl of corn flakes with full-fat milk and a sliced banana, drink a cup of coffee while sitting on the toilet reading Isaac Asimov, shower his massive girth, then comb the stringy strands of remaining hair over his exposed pate.


nan shartel Aug. 31, 2010 @ 11:35 a.m.

That night as the Blue moon rose he felt anxious in a way never realized before. Hackles sprouted on the back of his neck and goose flesh found it's way down his arms.Flop sweat began to pour out from under his arms. He thought "Maybe i should be waxing my symbolic moon" instead of viewing the unknown. That "light bulb going on" moment had changed everything for Stanley. When he tentatively swung the telescope around to view the windows of the nearby high rise buildings, he paused on one, where he was surprised to see someone or something was watching him from behind the blinds


Founder Aug. 31, 2010 @ 11:44 a.m.

Stanley gaped as he past his full length mirror; what had not so long ago been "his" body has somehow morphed into something he did not quite recognize; himself, looking about a hundred and seventy pounds heavier! "Holy Mother", he exclaimed. as he changed his point of view and grabbed for his towel, hanging nearby. "I'm starting to look like a Full Moon", he thought as he made his way toward his breakfast meal. Now his comforting morning routine became frustrating, as he pictured his own image again, the one from the mirror; as he passed on his corn flakes and milk, just wolfing down the banana. It's time for some exercise, "I'll start tomorrow, right after I finish my book", he thought, as he made his way toward the bathroom with a full cup of coffee without cream or sugar, and an almost empty stomach. "I can do this", was his last thought, before going completely Sci-Fi, returning to Erewhon, home of the dreaded morphing enslaving clan elders.


MsGrant Aug. 31, 2010 @ 11:47 a.m.

Startled to discover someone watching him, Stanley staggered backward, away from the telescope. "This was a mistake!" he cried out. He was furious with himself, unable to collect his thoughts. "Why can't I just look, like everyone else?!" He stopped and thought back to his brother, Mitch. Fate had dealt Stanley Hill a cruel blow. His brother Mitch had always been his mother's favorite. Milk-toast Mitch, that pasty middle-class postal drone married to that underwhelming wretch of a thing, father to those two snot-nosed brat ex-cons in training. How he loathed that fact that his brother had been responsible for securing him his current postal clerk position at the very same institution he previously decried. This loathing was only intensified by Mitch’s position at the postal service – that of Stanley’s supervisor. His obsessive-compulsive behaviors started young as a result of this lopsided doling out of maternal approval.


Evelyn Aug. 31, 2010 @ 12:33 p.m.

Stanley felt oddly repulsed and drawn to the deep blue eyes that stared back at him. Wanting to take a closer look, Stanley repositioned the telescope. For the following hour, he swiveled the 'scope numerous times, always coming back to the pink house where the blue eyes live. Stanley found himself watching for an hour, until 9 pm came and he prepared himself for sleep. As always, try as he might, he couldn't shake his OC tendencies. Stanley would rather sleep at 930 each night, then be the catalyst for the world's demise.


nan shartel Aug. 31, 2010 @ 12:50 p.m.

To fat for those Blue eyes he thought, too pasty, too timid, too f***ing everything that would move him out of the novice voyeur category into a full fledged stud with credentials category!! The fact that he had started even tentatively to change some of his habits didn't make him happy. It made him more anxious. His OCD had never been dealt with therapeutically and soon the Blue eyes would be added to the list of "impossible to control habits" of his daily life. He checked to see if he needed cream and sugar for his coffee before his night light was extinguished. Jesus he hated the thought of working for Mitch tomorrow. just before he drifted off he hear himself repeating softly "Die Mitch die"


MsGrant Aug. 31, 2010 @ 1:33 p.m.

In his dream he sees himself as a young boy. His mother is preparing breakfast, while he amuses himself with the bookshelf, arranging books in alphabetical order, first by title, then by author, then back to title. Rythmic and soothing, he finds a source of control in these rituals. His reverie is shattered when his older by two years brother, Mitch, comes into the room and sneers at him, asking "what are you doing now, retard?". Mitch then proceeds to rip the books out of the bookcase and put them back in no discernable order, causing Stanley to experience shallow, gasping breaths. He starts to hyperventilate, screaming at Mitch to stop, stop, stop. His mother runs from the kitchen and slaps him open palmed across the face. As he falls to floor, he catches a glimpse of Mitch's smirk...Stanley woke with a start, sweat pouring off of him, and saw the dawn light creeping in through the crack in the curtains. He felt something change in him, some feeling that things needed to change, yes, things needed to change, but most of all he needed to change. He needed to be worthy of those blue, blue eyes.


David Dodd Aug. 31, 2010 @ 5:01 p.m.

Mitch tried not to stare. She sat next to him, medium-length dress hugging slender long legs, tattoo just above the her cleavage, slightly to the left, it was a heart with an arrow piercing it, the droplets of blood from the wound leading down, down, down. He thought about his brother Stanley's telescope, about how maybe that was precisely where those droplets of blood would eventually pool, some distant planet, a distant star, a distant something. Mars, perhaps.

"Pardon me, does this bus go to the post office?"

Her voice was dulcet, in the way that water breaks on land. Mitch could only think of the arrow that pierced the heart. He looked up at her. He regretted it, immediately, and looked away.

"Yes, it does," he said. "That's my stop."

"Wonderful! I'll just follow you, then! I'm Linda."

Linda offered her hand, and Mitch stared at it for a moment. No ring. Long fingers. The perfect combination of the untied shoe met the willing foot as Mitch's hand found hers. Mitch found himself looking at her, and realized he was lost - at least momentarily. He stammered, trying to find words.

"Mitch," was all he could manage.

"Nice to meet you, Mitch," she said. "Today is my first day, I transferred in from San Francisco, they had an opening at the post office here and I grabbed it. Do you work near the post office?"

Her eyes were green, Mitch imagined them as uncut emeralds. His mouth was open and words were not available, his conscience was busy showing his brain images of his kids and his apron-bound wife, and when enough images had been seen by Mitch's brain-matter, he focused again on the bus and on the fact that he still held Linda's hand in his own. It felt so normal, natural, even exciting. He didn't want to let go.

"Yes, very close by," Mitch said.


nan shartel Aug. 31, 2010 @ 5:41 p.m.

No one could tell Linda was wearing green contacts lenses over her sky blue eyes. Who would have even considered it, and the plastic surgery she'd had on her face completely obscure her real identity. If Mitch hadn't been distracted by her breasts he might have seen that within her tattoo was the words "let's play hide and seek". That was her plan to entice him and his brother into a game. For Mitch it was "follow the yellow brick road to her Emerald eyes" For Stanley it was "Seek me and find the solution to your Mitch problem". She had reasons for her guile,dark convoluted reasons,to bring these two brothers together in the survival game of their lives


MsGrant Sept. 1, 2010 @ 11:22 a.m.

This was one of a dozen fantasies flitting through Mitch's brain as he held her hand. That somehow this wonderous creature was brought to him to put an end to his stale cookie-cutter life. Maybe she was a spy, sent by corporate to report details of his staff's shortcomings back to them...The bus lurched to a stop, and Mitch came back to reality. He thought of his brother again. God, would the guy ever get a girlfriend or at least get a life? He'd done enough for Stanley, what with the job and everything, but Stanley still had a problem with him, carrying some sort of chip on his shoulder. Thank god he got that telescope. He’d been keeping himself busy with it. Mitch realized he was still holding Linda's hand. He dropped it abruptly. What if someone from work saw him? This was not a fantasy. Linda was real and if he did not move quickly, she would be lost to him forever.


Evelyn Sept. 1, 2010 @ 12:10 p.m.

Lost, like Martha. Martha, who's grimacing ruby red lips had entranced him from the instant he had first seen her across the post office parking lot. Fortunately, for him, she had been struggling with her packages, and thus, the affair had started. There hadn't been another woman for Mitch since Martha. Remembering the present moment, Mitch turned his thoughts to more pressing matters: boarding the bus. With Linda at his side, Mitch actually smiled at the bus drivers as he paid his fare. The bus driver, grumbled something about something as he wondered if the fool had finally gotten lucky the night before. But Mitch's smile quickly soured as he saw Stanley walking up to the bus with a backpack on, as if Stanley were on the way to his first day of school.


nan shartel Sept. 1, 2010 @ 1:10 p.m.

"That S O B" thought Stan as he picked up his speed in order to catch the bus. Look at him, he's going to start something up with that whore. Geesus she has tattoos for cripes sake. How could he lower himself to that level of feminine depravity. his wife is such a chump for being married to him. He broke Martha's heart years ago leading her on and promising a divorce was up and coming. The tattooed girl indicated he should sit with them with pat on the open seat next to her. It made him physically sick to even thinking about planting his a$$ there and he moved on down the aisle. Linda was visibly shaken by his behavior. This wasn't the Stanley she used to know


Jay Allen Sanford Sept. 1, 2010 @ 9:28 p.m.

"Then again," Linda thought to herself, "does ANYbody really KNOW Stanley?" Of the two brothers, Mitch had always been the steady, dependable one (even if one of the things he was dependable about was acting lecherous around women). Stanley, however --- he'd always been a cipher, a mystery, even to the one who should have known him best, his own brother.

And Lord knows Stanley didn't have much more than a clue about dating women. Or talking to them. Or looking at them directly in the eye, for that matter. Linda knew this from VERY personal experience.


nan shartel Sept. 2, 2010 @ 9:10 a.m.

As the bus buzzed and moved in a stop and go fashion, Stan's thoughts drifted to the Summer Milky Way viewing he'd done the night before. He was pleasantly surprised at the visbility he was getting with his Orion SpaceProbe 130ST EQ Telescope.It was at the top of his budget and he resisted the cost and almost bought a cheaper one, but when he looked at the image of the Milky Way passing through the summer triangle with Altair's bright star in the lower right, Vega's bright star in upper middle and Deneb finishing the triangle in the lower right in Cygnus he was glad of his choice. The clarity just overwhelmed him. he was so excited about this hobby of astronomy he even looked thru Colleges catalogs for some classes and thought he might attend one. His jaw clenched as his mind moved on to that last heavenly body he'd seen last nite. Not a body really,only a mental fantasy he was forming with a pair of cold Blue eyes


Evelyn Sept. 2, 2010 @ 9:26 a.m.

A mental fantasy was all Blue eyes was, he had not yet dared to focus his telescope farther down than her neck. It took Stanley most of his night to even decide if he was going to look for her after star gazing. And, as such, at the beginning of his night, he was determined to only focus skyward. But his mind wavered with time, taking huge pendulum swings from yes to no. Alas, the victor of the night was always his obsessive compulsiveness. Gazing at the heavenliest of heavenly bodies had become part of his schedule. Ambar, Stanley's name for Blue eyes, had slowly, without Stanley realizing, settled herself into his life. She formed a small, albeit immensely important, secret part of his life. She was his, would be his.


nan shartel Sept. 2, 2010 @ 11:10 a.m.

It was common for Linda to awake with a start at nite flailing and tearing at her sheets.The dream turmoil was intense. Blood, blood was everywhere,streaming from her face as it was pummeled over and over again by one boy or a hundred boys. She had lost count of the number after six. Six,double her age,and an early puberty had doubled her trouble with pubescent boys. They were too eager to cop a feel,pitch her a$$, and try to kiss her so hard her teeth cut her lower lip.Then they apologized and ask her if she wanted ro play "Hide and Seek". She should have realized they were up to no good, but she didn't.Lured then tightly tied out in the Autumn leaves of the woods she was pummeled and gang raped. Literally every bone in her face was smashed by laughter taunting fists. They left her for dead horribly disfigure. Tentatively she hung on to her life and suffered 15 surgeries to put her Humpty Dumpty face back together again


FictionWriter Sept. 3, 2010 @ 11 p.m.

(Wow, you people have been busy while I was away! Fantastic contributions - I'll leave up as comments rather than compiled, so we can all see who wrote what!)

Stanley could only chuckle softly when he realized that his Mom's old plastic radio was playing "Behind Blue Eyes" (long live the Who!) as he lowered the telescopic lens - slowly, lovingly, like undoing a zipper - to rest its glassy gaze on that set of window blinds. The fantasies he'd been entertaining only in brief flits of fancy began to overtake all his thoughts once again, as they did every time he focused on the world(s) outside his dingy so-called-home.

There they were again, those penetrating blue orbs. Only this time, they were neither in the nighttime sky nor hidden behind the partitions of a segmented window shade.

They were staring. Blank. Motionless. Set like a snowman's coal black peepers, recessed within a face nearly as white and expressionless and unreal. They were Linda's eyes. And they would never look at him THAT way again.


nan shartel Sept. 4, 2010 @ 12:49 p.m.

Dead. Dead was a word often used and thought of but only as how it related to Mitch.Dead vapid blue eyes,and the confusion cascading from that fact. First with a hard landing as his almost admirable girth landed a$$ over teakettle on the hardwood floor. He began to shake and try as he would he couldn't get his legs back under him. He crawled to the phone and dialed 911. He could barely breathe as he told the 911 operator what he'd seen. There were those classic questions including asking for the address of the voluptuous deceased.He answered in a near stupor and as he got to his feet he looked again to be sure he wasn't hallucinating. No, there was Linda,dead,being pulled out of sight by,who was that man? The man turned and moved to lower the blinds. it was Mitch


nan shartel Sept. 6, 2010 @ 5:08 p.m.

this was wonderful fun Fiction Writer and i thank u for setting it up...i think every contributer was super....hope we finish this...i'm hoping o see Mitch viewed by his brother getting the "hot shot" after he relinquishes his freedom in favor of a orange jumpsuit on some death row somewhere

if he did it...hahahahahahahahahahahaha...anywho thx homey we loved it!!!


Evelyn Sept. 21, 2010 @ 3:19 p.m.

Re: 25

What if you compile the comments/paragraphs and add the usernames in parenthesis at the end? That way everyone can still see who wrote what.


nan shartel Sept. 21, 2010 @ 3:56 p.m.

this was a perfect exercise of writers feeding off each others work to move a story along....i do wish it could be put out there as a fictional piece with or without individual credit given to all the writers who participated

it would be fun to have more Reader bloggers read it


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